(From the "unions" conversation on 'vox')
...I recognize that most people on this list are way ahead of me in understanding all this. But it's nice to know that there are people here who will take the time to try to explain it in a way I can catch on.
As an undergrad in biology, I was only required to take one quarter of computer science. Basically, I learned the difference between software and hardware, something about zeros and ones, and that's about it. Now, as a Ph.D. candidate, I find that many (most?) of the jobs available in private industry in my field want Unix familiarity, and Perl scripting ability. It's a last-minute scramble to learn what I need in order to be marketable. LUGOD and vox folks have been a huge help.